The Danger of the Two Sales is a straightforward but not well-known marketing and sales problem that kills many new businesses.
Here's what happens to produce it:
Someone has a brainwave and makes a new product or service.
You see this all the time in the agency and Software-as-a-Service world...but you'll also see it in products, such as a condiment.
Then the creator goes out and tries to sell the thing, and discovers nobody wants it.
"Why don't they understand how great this is?" they shout. After all, it's clear as day to them why people need whatever it is.
But the public, the target market, other people... everyone else just doesn't get it.
The now-frustrated creator gives up.
Understanding What Causes The Danger Of The Two Sales
What happened here?
The new business owner, fired up with the enthusiasm for their innovative idea, has dangerously bypassed the first problem in sales and marketing...
...identifying a problem people admit they'll pay to have solved.
This is the first of The Two Sales. You must make this first sale, and it is best if that sale is implicitly understood by your prospective customer before you begin talking to them.
In other words, the first sale is that your prospect admits there is a serious problem to be solved: one that they will pay money to fix.
If you haven't achieved this, you run a great risk of having your "solution" sound unnecessary or, even worse, nonsense. You'll ever make a sale in this situation.
The second of The Two Sales is that YOU are the best provider of solutions for this problem.
Can you see how if you blindly try to rush past the first of The Two Sales, that your target market agrees there's an issue here worth solving in the first place, your prospect will blink at you in confusion when you try to show off "your baby"?
Making Use Of The Two Sales
You might be astonished how often this situation comes up. If you keep the Danger of the Two Sales in mind as you begin, though, you'll be able to make use of it.
As a for-instance, I pre-qualify prospective clients for people who already believe that a metrics-based approach is good. For them to already be demonstrating they value numbers because they're collecting their own data—and aren't afraid of math.
So many newbie business owners are afraid of a little math.
When I do talk to someone about our services, I know they're already on board with doing some math...that they speak the language of marketing and operations results. I do not have to risk falling into the situation of trying to sell someone who just isn't into numbers and probably never will be. What a frustrating experience that would be!
Do you see how this directs your marketing?
Your marketing is best deployed in filtering in those people who already believe as you do. Then you can talk to those who qualify—those you've made The First Sale to—further about the details of your amazing solution.
Of course there are situations where a new problem and a new solution are very real. But you'll still have to deal with The Two Sales: before you'll ever make a sale you'll have to educate and convince someone, or get them to agree, that there is a serious problem in this area. Then you can move on to you being the best solution provider.
Many, many businesses have died an early death because their founders did not understand The Danger of the Two Sales. I encourage you to not be one of those founders.
2023 Update on The Danger of the Two Sales
The First Sale (from the buyer's point of view): Is this a good idea for me in general?
The Second Sale: Is YOUR solution the best one for me?
Rush past the first and you'll have a lot of trouble making the second.
Take your time to make the first, and now that you've got your buyer's ears open, you'll have a much easier time with the second.
>> Jason Kanigan is a business strategist and conversion expert. To book a session to speak with Jason, click here. <<